Tags: Cuba | Cuba Lobby | controversy | outspoken | critics

Cuba Lobby Controversy: 4 Outspoken Critics of Cuba's Leadership in Washington

By    |   Saturday, 28 November 2015 09:55 PM

When Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba in 1959, many people fled, either out of fear or opposition to the new regime. For decades, people continued to abandon the country, with many seeking refuge in the United States. Today, some of the country's most powerful people are of Cuban descent, including several who hold positions as elected officials. Sometimes referred to as the Cuba Lobby, they typically oppose loosening restrictions against Cuba until that country improves life for its citizens. There are some people, however, who have concerns about the Cuba Lobby's influence on American policy.

The following people have spoken out against key members of the Cuba Lobby.

1. Noah Feldman, Columnist and Law Professor
Writing for BloombergView, Noah Feldman addressed U.S. President Barack Obama's plans to normalize relations with Cuba. He argued that the lobby's success hinged on the vigor with which it pursued its cause and its generous support for politicians that shared its views. "The Cuba lobby's success has reflected a deep truth of American politics: where there's a concentrated interest on one side of an issue, and only a diffuse interest on the other, the concentrated interest wins."

Vote Now: Should the US End the Embargo Against Cuba?

2. Representative Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
When 6-year-old Cuban Elian Gonzalez was rescued from the ocean off Florida in 1999, Fidel Castro portrayed the incident as a kidnapping and maintained the boy belonged in Cuba with his father. Those against the Castro regime, however, depicted Gonzalez as a refugee who should be given asylum. Speaking a year after the incident and just after the boy's return to Cuba, Representative Jim McDermott, D-Wash., referred to what's called the American-Cuban hard-liners, saying "They showed what they were really all about. They were ready to sacrifice one of their own kids, and they didn't really care about separating him from his father," The New York Times reported.

3. Max Castro, Sociologist at the University of Miami's North-South Center
Also speaking just after the return of Elian Gonzalez, Max Castro said that the boy's situation created doubt in the minds of some Americans about the long-held hard-line policy against Cuba. The New York Times quoted him saying: "Americans have basically said it's a policy that hasn't worked, and it's inconsistent with the rest of our foreign policy.''

4. Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly
, Senior Director of Policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas
In a 2014 commentary for Foreign Policy magazine, Christopher Sabatini criticized the Cuba Lobby's response to anyone who questioned the efficacy and relevance of the decades-long embargo against Cuba: "Unfortunately, but not unpredictably, these reasonable calls for a public debate on Cuba policy have been met with distortions and personal attacks, as if even daring to raise the question of the efficacy of the monolithic 52-year-old embargo – the likes of which Washington has never applied on any other country – is akin to treason."

Vote Here: Is the US Trade Embargo With Cuba Good or Bad?

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A group of political leaders sometimes referred to as the Cuba Lobby typically oppose loosening restrictions against Cuba. There are some people, however, who have concerns about the Cuba Lobby's influence on American policy.
Cuba Lobby, controversy, outspoken, critics
Saturday, 28 November 2015 09:55 PM
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